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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
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    Mesa, AZ
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    28,248

    Talking DISCONTINUED: Comm Center from Email [HD VIDEO]

    February 14, 2012: SERVICE DISCONTINUED. Sorry everyone. Please read here for the reasons.

    November 27, 2009: New Video!
    November 25, 2009: Many formatting and conversion issues fixed. You can now both read and post in either HTML or plain text! See this message
    November 12, 2009: Posting and reply email addresses have changed from comctr.dc3.com to forums.dc3.com. See this message.
    November 11, 2009: Bug causing raw HTML to appear in emails fixed, you can now participate in plain text as well as HTML. See this message.
    January, 2009: Service enhanced for true HTML capabilities, with a few caveats. See this message.
    April, 2008: A new, totally rewritten add-on is now installed. See this message.

    Yes, you heard right! I worked with another vBulletin developer to produce a plug-in that allows 2-way participation in the Comm Center by email. This delivers the capability that we had when we were using Yahoo! groups - you don't need to fire up your browser and log in. The traffic comes into your email box and you can reply right in your emailer. You can also start new threads by email. The forum email addresses are listed below the video.

    DISCLAIMER: You need a modern threading emailer, one that supports the Internet/IETF email threading standards. Examples include Mozilla Thunderbird, Google's GMail, even recent versions of Outlook Express. As far as I can tell, as of Nov 2009, even the "new" Yahoo! mail does not. It appears to have a cheesy and unreliable "navigate by subject" capability but no threading for real. Watch out with the corporate/government Outlook systems too. Many of them run old versions of Outlook/Exchange which have a proprietary and incompatible system for threading that won't work outside of Outlook.

    You can now send/receive in either HTML or plain text. See this message.

    HOW TO GET STARTED:

    Here's a video on how to get started and some tips on using email with the Comm Center. Try this in HD mode and full screen!

    Using Email With the Comm Center
    If the video hangs up when switching to HD, Stop it, rewind it, and start it again.

    FORUM ADDRESSES:

    Company and Product Information info@forums.dc3.com
    Help Using the Comm Center help@forums.dc3.com

    ACP Observatory Control Software acp@forums.dc3.com
    ACP Planner planner@forums.dc3.com
    Share Your Sky! sharesky@forums.dc3.com
    ACP Scheduler scheduler@forums.dc3.com
    PinPoint and Visual PinPoint pinpoint@forums.dc3.com

    Pre-Sales Technical Questions and Help presales@forums.dc3.com
    ACP Add-Ons and Enhancements addons@forums.dc3.com
    John Winfield's All-Sky Plate Solving allsky@forums.dc3.com
    Mike Dodd's Planalyzer planalyzer@forums.dc3.com
    Customer and Pre-Sales Help custsvc@forums.dc3.com
    Hardware and Driver Issues hwdrvr@forums.dc3.com
    FocusMax Questions focusmax@forums.dc3.com
    Success Stories & Kind Words success@forums.dc3.com
    Astro-Image Gallery images@forums.dc3.com
    General Astronomy-Related astro@forums.dc3.com
    Off-Topic Discussions offtopic@forums.dc3.com
    Last edited by Bob Denny; Feb 15, 2012 at 14:29. Reason: New HD Video!
    -- Bob

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default

    The email integration package has been updated with a totally rewritten set of modules. I have extensively tailored it to our needs. You'll no longer see the -=-=-=-=- lines. I've done my best (in practical time) to make replies with quoted stuff appear decent.

    You should still refrain from auto-quoting in your messages, but "to the point" quotes should appear in context with decent formatting. I hope this will encourage more of you to use email with the Comm Center.
    -- Bob

  3. #3
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    OK, I've fixed the problem with incoming mail to the forum (again)... This time it was an obsolete form of a call that stopped working when they updated PHP.
    -- Bob

  4. #4
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    The email integration service has again been updated. This time I added HTML posting capability. No longer will your HTML emails be converted to ugly text format. Also, the threading was broken (how'd I miss that last May??).

    The HTML posting is fragile and doubtless will break on some of the horrible HTML generated by some emailers. I did test with my Thunderbird, as well as Yahoo Mail and GMail. If you post via HTML and find that the message came out ugly etc. let me know and I'll attempt to add fixup code for your mailer.

    [edit] I just discovered that quotes are not appearing in emails sent out from the forum system. Quotes in incoming HTML email are being properly turned into quotes in the posted forum messages, it's just that the resulting outgoing email notifications don't contain those quotes. I'll work on it as soon as I can...
    Last edited by Bob Denny; Dec 30, 2008 at 18:43. Reason: Found a problem
    -- Bob

  5. #5
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    Well the problem of the comments and code most of the time not appearing in outgoing email, only if the original message was posted via email, is still unsolved. Once in a blue moon it will work with no explanation. No change to anything and it won't work the next time and for many times thereafter. 7 hours is enough. Debugging someone else's PHP on a remote machine with no tools except writing to trace files is just too much. I'll tackle it again some other time.

    This morning I did get <tt> blocks in incoming email to show up as [code] blocks in the posted messages, which is really useful.
    -- Bob

  6. #6
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    It took forever, and I had to jump through some weird hoops, but I have quote and code blocks working. Actually, in the end, I decided to trap them and generate special HTML for outgoing emails. I'll update the original thread post with some info on this.
    -- Bob

  7. #7
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    Update 04-Jan-2008:

    The email service now accepts HTML emails and produces HTML emails, as it originally did before the April "update". Long story. The HTML formats that are accepted for incoming email posts, as well as those generated for outgoing email, are probably not good for some emailers. If you're having problems, please read the additional info below.

    Incoming HTML Email:


    Most HTML is accepted, including bold, italic, etc., numbered and unnumbered lists. Any explicit font or color HTML is stripped out (no way to know if the font is available and/or if the color works with the user's selected forum style/skin).

    If you enclose material in <tt> tags, it will be converted into "vanilla" monospaced text in the posted message. This will carry through to outgoing emails but will appear as <font face="monospace">.

    If you want a quote to appear, do whatever you need to to have that material enclosed in <blockquote> tags. This is automatically done by my mailer Thunderbird.

    If you want to post stuff in a "code" block, do whatever you need to do to have that material enclosed in <pre> tags. In Thunderbird, simply select "preformat" as the text style.

    If you are replying, and quote the entire original message including the links block at the end, the links block will be stripped out when the reply is processed for posting to the forum. Thus you can simply "quote original" in your reply and leave it.


    Outgoing HTML Email:

    Regardless of whether a message is posted using the browser interface or via email, the outgoing HTML mail will preserve most formatting, lists, etc. Font and color selections will also be preserved (this may change if it becomes a problem).

    Quote blocks will be enclosed in <blockquote type="cite"> tags. You may have to configure your emailer to show this as a typical email quote. Thunderbird does it natively.

    Code blocks will be enclosed in <pre> tags.
    -- Bob

  8. #8
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    November 2009 - You can now use plain text email

    Since January I've been getting scattered reports of people receiving subscription email from the Comm Center that comes in as raw HTML. Yesterday, I finally attacked that problem and it took me a whole day! I found the bug and fixed it.

    While I was at it, I reviewed the whole Email Integration forum "mod", and discovered that it can be configured to post emails in either plain text or HTML. Then I worked on the email-to-forum stuff until it handles incoming plain text emails reasonably well.

    You can control whether you receive email-integrated emails in HTML or plain text by going to the User Control Panel (User C/P button at the top), Edit Options (click the link to go there now) and scroll down to see the area in the screen shot below.

    I should update the video some day, but it was made with an old video editor I don't use any more, so I'll have to do it from scratch. Most if it still applies, only the part about needing an HTML emailer is no longer applicable.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    -- Bob

  9. #9
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    Today's upgrade moved the relay mailboxes from our mail server here to the mail server for the same system on which the Comm Center forum itself is running. Thus, the incoming mail messages for the forum go straight to that system and are picked up by the forum without travelling over another Internet connection.

    The result is that the posting and reply addresses for the forums have changed from comctr.dc3.com to forums.dc3.com. This means that if you reply to old messages, the replies will now bounce since comctr.dc3.com is no longer. I apologize for this inconvenience. You'll soon forget about it though :-) I've updated the main post at the beginning of the thread with the new forum posting addresses.
    -- Bob

  10. #10
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    Another day working on this! Now you can post in either text or HTML, and you can select whether you want to receive thread subscription posts in either HTML or plain text (in the User C/P, Options). The formatting and conversions have been fixed in multiple places. I think this thingis in pretty good shape now. Ha ha. We'll see!
    -- Bob

 

 

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